Developing a materials course Teaching Tool Kit to promote ease of implementation of innovative classroom instructional materials and practice

Stephen Krause, Jacquelyn E. Kelly, Andrea Marta Eller, Dale R. Baker, Jessica Triplett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many types of innovative teaching strategies and materials have been created in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines over time, but only a limited number have been widely adapted. Most classes in undergraduate engineering are still taught via lectures or the "transmission" mode of teaching, which has been shown to be the least effective method for student learning. This is due, in part, to the fact that there are major problems related to "ease of implementation" of innovative teaching and learning strategies and materials in STEM, and particularly so for engineering. To begin to address this need, a collection of innovative materials, activities, and assessments across nine topics of an introductory materials class has been created as a "Teaching Tool Kit" available on the web at To increase the potential for instructors adapting tools, the tool kit was designed to modify, but still fit within, the framework of an already-existing publisher's book and slide set. As such, the primary component in the tool kit is the nine topic-based, multi-class module note sets developed by modifying an already-existing set of chapter slides. Additionally, the innovative individual tools, which are embedded and integrated into the class modules, have also been broken out as separate "tools" so they can be used with any book or any set of instructor notes. This is a critical aspect for promoting ease-of-implementation, because this modularized approach allows faculty to utilize the tool kit resources to whatever degree they deem desirable. The tools available include topic-based sets of: team-based classroom activities; pre-post topic assessments; and student learning aids of visual glossaries and concept-context maps. The development of the innovative teaching tools was based on major principles for effective learning described in the book, How People Learn, as well as the pedagogical content knowledge developed from longterm research on student learning in materials courses. Tools for assessing prior knowledge include the Materials Concept Inventory and Pre-post Topic Concept Quizzes. Eliciting such information is critical in informing creation of innovative teaching materials. Constructivist materials and activities to support conceptual framework development included: Mini-Lecture Misconception Informed Slide Sets, Concept-in-Context Class Activities, Concept-In-Context Homework, Concept-Context Maps, Concept-Context Quizzes, and Visual Glossaries. A tool created to promote metacognition was the Daily Reflection sheet which prompted students to describe their Most Interesting, Muddiest, and Learn-About-Learning Points. The tools were created to promote thoughtful and meaningful team dialogue, as well as awareness of both value and difficulties of learning content in a student-centered classroom. Overall, this tool kit is meant for any instructor of an introductory materials course, regardless of level of teaching expertise. By making innovative course tools accessible, such as found in the tool kit, we also hope to promote the development of pedagogical content knowledge in engineering educators. We also believe that the strategies and tools described have characteristics of a general model that could be adapted to other courses and potentially achieve broader impact. The specific data on the effect of these materials on student learning, along with detailed explanations of tool development methods are described and discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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